Confessions Of An Over-Decorator

Confessions Of An Over-Decorator

Oh my gosh! It’s fall. Finally!

Every year I desperately wait for the season of my favorite colors to arrive. I have to be physically restrained on Labor Day to keep from hauling out my season decor. I go crazy, even when my life is out of control busy, and there aren’t enough hours to sleep, write, work, read, play, exercise … you get the idea. But I always make time to deck my halls.

It all starts by moving my fall mugs to the front of the cabinet. This is today’s designer cup. I bought this beauty 13 years ago at Hobby Lobby (or as I like to call it, the mother ship). One year, I confess, I left it out all year.

Next comes the mantel. I use orange lights and a pricey piece of garland, because it holds up so well. I put the lights on a timer so they come on without me even thinking about them. I scatter vases, candles and gourds in among the leaves for a fuller effect. It’s so pretty when the sun goes down.

This year tragedy struck when I was pulling out my pumpkin stack. When I first saw the idea in a Martha Stewart’s magazine for carving and stacking pumpkins and lighting it, I was entranced. But I decided to make mine with poly-resin pumpkins so it would last a really long time. And it has. For 10 years I’ve been pulling the protective plastic bag off this and dragging it out of storage. This year, it was just too wobbly for me. It needed redoing anyway.  Eventually, it will look like this:

And even though I miss carving a real pumpkin, it is still beautiful.

So there you have it. Fall is my jam. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, at least until Christmas comes. Happy leaf peeping!


Last Chance For Summer Fun

Last Chance For Summer Fun

Don't Go!

Don’t Go!

Summer is fast coming to an end (for goodness sake, school’s about to start). I’ve always had mixed emotions about this time of year. Pumpkin spice everything is right around the corner, but I always worried whether I provided enough summer fun for our kids.

So, every year, we’d load the kids up in the car and go in search of adventure. One of my favorite trips was when we drove to Vermont in search of Larry, Daryl and Daryl from Newhart (Remember those guys?).

We loved that show and were eager to see Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. We stayed at a country bed and breakfast, The Bailey Mills. We drove up after getting lost on ‘the scenic route’ and drove up around 11:30 at night. We were all a bit creeped out by the fact the front yard was a revolutionary war cemetery. And, the room we rented came with a ghost. Now, I’ve never professed to being afraid of a ghost, but knowing I’d closed the closet door in the bathroom before I went to bed, and finding it open the next morning was…in a word, spooky.

Photo Courtesy of The Bailey Mills Inn

Photo Courtesy of The Bailey Mills Inn

But the grounds were awesome, and the journey together as a family is still a memory we discuss often. School started about a week after we got home and I sent my kids off on that first day, knowing they’d enjoyed the adventure.

I’m curious what you’d do if confronted by a ghost at a bed and breakfast?

Grey’s Anatomy Makes Me Ugly Cry

Grey’s Anatomy Makes Me Ugly Cry

This being my inaugural post on The Spice Aisle, I debated what I’d want to tell you about my entertainment interests. Do I talk about Batman Vs. Superman, and why I think Jessie Eisenberg was absolutely brilliant as Lex Luthor Jr (contrary to what the rest of world seems to think). Or maybe I could tell you about my addiction to most of the Real Housewives programs. (It’s true, I follow a lot of them on social media). I know, maybe something about The Walking Dead, or Downton Abbey. My mind jumped all over, like my choices of television shows. This fact made me start thinking about discipline, and a pledge I made to myself when I quite my full-time job as a writer to be a writer full-time.

When I started working from home, I decided that I’d work 6-8 hours each day. I planned to stay disciplined and not stray from my resolution to keep the television off during the day. But, I reasoned, everyone gets a lunch hour. I should build that into my day. And to help distract me from my work, to clear my head a little and help generate some new thoughts, watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy on Lifetime would be the perfect escape mechanism.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

I love the cast of this program (even though I’m not currently watching the original episodes on Thursday nights). They really are like an extended family. Richard Weber, the patriarch. Miranda Bailey does an amazing job portraying the brainiac sister. She’s tough, but moments of shining sentimentality peek through. For me, Meredith Grey represents the party girl sister for whom everything seems to come easily. But her sardonic outlook on life hides the angst she habitually suffers through. I could go on about the cast, but I think you get the picture.

I’m always a little shocked to discover tears wetting my cheeks as I watch. The show has generated a visceral response within me on many occasions. Like the episode where Callie and Arizona are in a car accident, and Callie almost dies. Shonda Rhimes, for some reason decided to film that episode as a musical. The verses of the songs picked were brilliant. Dang, I’m even tearing up a little right now thinking about it.

Here are a couple of clips from that episode. A word to the wise–get your tissues.


I also love how the patients’ stories parallel events within the medical staffs’ drama and dilemmas. There is always a moral to the story, tying everything together in a neat, satisfying package.

I feel like I should confess that while I do only watch one episode while I’m eating (okay, most days) I record at least two other installments to watch at night, when I can’t find Fixer Upper or Salvage Dawgs. My other guilty addictions.

Gemma Sig-1

Stay-cation, Florida style

Stay-cation, Florida style

We don’t go on a whole lot of family vacations where we are not headed up North to visit friends and family. It’s kind of our thing. But there are times, when we have a few days off, and decide to stay local with the girls to do the Florida thing. Among our favorite places to visit, still, is . . . UNIVERSAL ORLANDO.

IMG_3885Now, not every year, but some years, we splurge and get annual passes for the family.  By the time we’ve visited the parks 3 times, we’ve already gotten our money’s worth and then some. Plus, free parking? And we can go any time we feel like it, for as long (or short) as we want, and we don’t stress over it.


I’m in.

IMG_1533I could go on and on about every little nook and cranny, inside the parks, but today, I’m focusing on my favorite area. Which, of course, is what I like to refer to as, the park within the parks. AKA, Harry Potter world.

Visit London, with the facade of normalcy on the outside . . .

Find the secret path, and you are escorted to the magical life of J.K. Rowlings vision, on the inside.

IMG_3201It’s flipping extraordinary, guise.

From the first time I stepped into this world, I felt like I was inside the books all over again. It’s Potter perfection.




From Platform 9 and 3 quartahs . . .


To the train that takes you on more than just a ride to the other half of Universal Studios . . .


To seeing KREACHER in the window of Sirius Black’s home!


Our youngest got her wand as a birthday surprise last summer . . .


The fact that she can perform spells, blows . . . my mind.


photo - knockturn alley -

photo – knockturn alley –

To top it all off, she and I went alone once, this year, and we wandered around inside Diagon Alley, inspecting everything we could, got a little lost and don’t you know, we ended up in freaking KNOCKTURN ALLEY, ya’ll.

They literally thought of everything.

The beauty of this area of the parks, though, is so much more than taking a day trip to have fun for a day. It’s all about the details. And the experience, and watching your kids enjoy the magic, while you still can.

IMG_3896I hope they still feel it when they’re my age. I totally do, and I will never stop being grateful to J.K. for all the awesomeness she’s given me and my girls through her writing.

To be able to give that to millions . . . that’s the sweet spot.

*heavy . . . happy sigh*

Hope you enjoyed your trip today!

See ya next time! 🙂


Musical Multiple Personalities

Musical Multiple Personalities

Let me start out by wishing you the very best this holiday season, however you celebrate. We do a traditional Christmas at our home. Festivities generally begin with getting the tree. This normally involves at least 3 family feuds, one on which tree, another on securing/removing it from the vehicle, and a third on installation.

This year, it was an honest to God Christmas miracle. Tree selection was unanimous and took about ten minutes, vehicle loading and unloading happened without a hitch, and the tree was installed in the house with nary a cross word. Then, my husband broke out the Christmas music, and all hell broke loose.



You have to understand, I have teens, and as you read this, bear in mind that they are a subset of humanity. People assure me they will emerge from their hormone fug in a few more years and will once more take their place amongst the rest of us.

Back to Christmas music and tree decorating. Bing Crosby was banned as ‘not this stupid thing again.’ ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, was disclaimed as that ‘date rape’ song. Frank Sinatra was greeted with growls, and the St. Martins-in-the-Field choir ended in a charge for the sound system.

Husband was gutted. Being husband, he entrenched himself in the “It’s bloody Christmas!” argument, which lit a fuse under teens, and our happy, family gathering evening teetered on the edge of disaster.

Mum to the rescue. COMPROMISE!!!

So, this year, we decorated the tree to “White Christmas” giving way to “Hit the Quan”, followed by Ed Sheeran, who relinquished the mic to Louis Armstrong (who was the only Christmas crooner to escape scorn). Louis was followed by that other Christmas classic by Dillon Francis, and DJ Shake “Get Low”.

Hey! We all mark the occasion differently. And in case you want to Hit the Quan – here we go. Just spreading the love this Christmas.